In a last-ditch effort to corral 40 anti-abortion party members whose votes are needed to pass health care reform, Democrats last night agreed to let the whole House vote today on an amendment that would bar insurers participating in the new government-run health care exchange from providing abortions except in the case of rape, incest or to protect the mother's health. It would also prevent people who receive federal subsidies from buying private insurance that covers abortion.
Drafted by Michigan Rep. Bart Stupak, the compromise is expected to be supported by every House Republican as well as the block of Democrats. Expect contentious floor debate, as abortion rights backers were outraged by the move, saying it would roll back care available to many women by forcing private insurers to drop coverage. As written, the bill merely requires that abortions be paid for by the private portion of a patient's premium.